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News > Panama

Panama: Nurses on Strike To Demand Wages and Biosecurity

  • Health worker performs COVID-19 tests, Panama City, Panama, August 20, 2020.

    Health worker performs COVID-19 tests, Panama City, Panama, August 20, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 24 August 2020
Opinion

So far, Panama has reported 86,900 COVID-19 cases, of which at least 400 cases correspond to infected nurses.

The National Association of Nurses of Panama (ANEP) Monday will hold a protest to denounce exhausting work hours, lack of personal protective equipment, and failure to pay salaries to professionals hired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The ANAP president Ana Reyes called on citizens to support the peaceful demonstrations that will take place in different health institutions.

"Although we had meetings with the authorities... we did not feel the answers that the nurses and the community need," Reyes said, adding that health workers take to the streets to make visible their needs, among which is pay for newly hired nurses.

"This protest is not only for us but also for our teammates, the community, and all those who have died in these five months of the pandemic," she recalled.

Last week, Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre requested authorization to use US$6 million to pay for contracts and shifts owed to health personnel hired during the current health crisis.

He also highlighted the need for some decisions to be reconsidered to improve healthcare because authorities should not be only focused on COVID-19.

“'We don't want one more nurse to die… that's why we have to unite, take action, and take care of ourselves. We must all be together to move forward ', the ANEP president said.

As of Monday morning, Panama had reported 86,900 COVID-19 cases and 1,892 deaths. According to ANEP data, at least 400 health workers have been infected by COVID-19 in Panama, a country that has carried out 7,579 tests as part of its strategy to detect the disease in neighborhoods.

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